Malaysia Inflation Lowest In 6 Months Amid Slowing Food Prices

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Malaysia's consumer price inflation eased slightly at the end of the year to the lowest level in six months, primarily driven by a moderation in food prices, data from the Department of Statistics showed on Friday.

The consumer price index, or CPI, climbed 3.8 percent year-on-year in December, following November's 4.0 percent increase. Prices have been rising since February last year.

Further, this was the weakest inflation rate since June 2022, when prices had risen 3.4 percent.

On Thursday, Bank Negara Malaysia said headline and core inflation were expected to remain elevated in 2023 amid both demand and cost pressures, as well as any changes to domestic policy measures.

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages grew the most, by 6.8 percent annually in December, though the price growth eased from 7.3 percent in November.

Transport charges were 4.9 percent more expensive compared to last year, but was the rate was slightly less than the previous month's 5.0 percent. Restaurant and hotel charges continued to increase at a higher pace of 7.4 percent.

Read more: Malaysia Trade Surplus Shrinks As Export Growth Slows To 6%

Data also showed that core inflation stood at 4.1 percent in December versus 4.2 percent in the prior month.

During the year 2022, overall consumer prices showed a price increase of 3.3 percent versus a 2.5 percent gain in 2021.

Separate official data showed that the leading index for Malaysia, which measures future economic activity, improved to 110.5 in November from 109.6 in October.

On an annual basis, the leading index fell 0.4 percent in November, in contrast to a 0.4 percent rise in the prior month.

Data also showed that both the coincident and the lagging index improved on an annual basis.

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